Review: Irresistible Revolution (Jason’s first post)

Hey there, this is Jason, Beth’s husband.  I just finished Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne and Beth wanted me to post a review about it.  First of all, I loved it.  I’ll talk only a bit about the book, but most of this post will be about the way it and other related factors have affected me lately.

In this book, Shane makes this crazy claim that Jesus was actually serious when he suggested that his followers care for the sick, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, etc.  Gee, what a crazy idea, right?  Well, Shane takes it seriously and has taken on many endeavors to live out this call.  He lives in a community in Philly called the Simple Way where they attempt to share pretty much everything.  The book is full of stories from the community as well as stories from his college days.  Finally, he shares stories from his trip to Iraq.

Instead of giving you a synopsis, I’m just going to recommend you read it.  It’s a short book with large font and it’s easy to read.

Now on to the good stuff.  In addition to this book, it would seem that every Christian article I’ve read or podcast I’ve listened to lately has been talking about taking action.  Actually living out Christianity as if it weren’t merely a boring ritualistic Sunday-morning religion; but a passion-filled, love-motivated, action-based style of life.  Realizing my own history of complacency and feeling an overwhelming sense of restlessness, I cried out to God, “what would you have me do?”  This was about a month ago, and immediately he answered with an idea that kind of scared me, to be quite honest.  Fear aside, I knew what I felt so here’s what I did…

A few weeks back I brought my bike up to work and during lunch I made a bunch of sandwiches and rode them over to a nearby highway overpass where I always see homeless folks on the corners. I simply went up to each of them and asked if they were hungry. With a resounding, “always,” I invited them to come sit and eat with me and they did.

I’ve gone back every Tuesday and Thursday since and I’ve started building relationships with these guys. My wife helps me make sandwiches and one time I even brought left-over butternut squash soup! Grapes are a favorite as well. There are a couple of regulars and a few different folks that I’ve only met once. We’ve talked about life, told crazy stories, listened to Joe on his harmonica, and it’s just an all around great time. Rick, who sleeps under said overpass, is always anxious to make sure that I’m coming back again. The food they like, the acceptance and relationship they love…I love. Each day i do this I am left on a high that lasts the rest of the day. Granted, it is something small, but it is something that I felt directly inspired by God to do and there is much joy in that.

So there you have it.  Instead of an actual review of the book, I’m giving testimony of the message that the book is trying to convey.  At first I was reluctant to share this with anyone with fear of tooting my own horn.  However, as I’ve shared this story I’ve found more and more Christians who feel the same eagerness to take action.  As such, I am gathering some people together from our church to start doing even more…and I invite you to join.  There will be more details forthcoming, but the first “project” we’re going to do as a group is to clean up the intersection where Rick sleeps at Burnet & 183.  Then I trust the creativity of people and the power of the Holy Spirit to inspire us with more ideas of how to bless the homeless in Austin.  I invite anyone and everyone to join us, Christian or not.  We have a wonderful city and we are incredibly blessed.  By making just a few sacrifices, we can make a huge impact on our city and its people.

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10 Comments

  1. Posted October 21, 2008 at 8:58 am | Permalink | Reply

    I have experienced the misery of homelessness at several points in my life and, although there is a certain sense of freedom to it, it is a dangerous and miserable lifestyle that is hard to rise out of.
    Contrary to popular belief, most homeless did not become so out of choice. Most did not become homeless because they are lazy, stupid, or immoral. Many homeless people are victims of abuse in the form of neglect and abandonment by their parents or other caregivers. Like many victims of abuse, a lot of them have chemical dependency problems. Their existence is so miserable that they use alcohol or other drugs as an escape. Some of them are simply victims of life’s tragedies, such as hurricanes, fires, or other catastrophes from which they simply don’t have the resources to recover.
    Also, there is a snowball effect that occurs with homelessness. After all, who is going to hire someone with no address? Most homeless people don’t have the resources to even do their laundry; who is going to hire someone in filthy clothes? Also once a person has fallen to the level of living on the streets it is very difficult for them to get a job even if they are capable of working, because the condition of homelessness creates a low sense of self-esteem which makes it difficult to relate to other people. It is difficult to find, much less keep a job once a person’s self-esteem is so badly damaged.
    I invite you to my website: http://www.FreetheGods.com. There you will find pictures I have taken of homeless people. I always give them a dollar or two for the privilege of photographing them. Usually, I am surprised by their cheerfulness and sense of pride. Often, they will show themselves to have some kind of talent. There is a fine line between genius and insanity.
    David Settino Scott, III

  2. Elizabeth
    Posted October 21, 2008 at 9:03 am | Permalink | Reply

    Yay! Jason’s first post! Thank you for sharing this with everyone.

  3. Jennifer
    Posted October 21, 2008 at 10:02 am | Permalink | Reply

    Great post, Jason. Give me a call when you go to clean; I’d love to join.

  4. Posted October 21, 2008 at 10:09 am | Permalink | Reply

    David, thanks for your commentary. Indeed, as I find out the stories of these friends, I see that my prior judgments and assumptions were way off. They have fascinating yet heartbreaking stories of how they ended up on the streets. Much of what they’ve experienced was beyond their own control and had little to do with good or bad choices.

  5. elliek
    Posted October 21, 2008 at 11:03 am | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks so much for sharing your heart, Jason. It’s a big deal to read a book, be inspired by it, and then actually put it into practice in your life – especially something that is scary! We actually talked about what you’re doing in our staff meeting this morning – it is inspiring and encouraging. Thank you for following God’s leading in your life.

  6. Krista
    Posted October 21, 2008 at 12:43 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Jason, that is awesome! I’m really glad the book challenged/inspired you to act!!!

  7. cooperella
    Posted October 21, 2008 at 1:06 pm | Permalink | Reply

    that was very brave of you. i don’t see this post as tooting your own horn, but as inspiration for others to follow suit! It’s fantastic that you did it but even better that you’re telling others and encouraging them to do the same.

    thanks for taking a chance and blazing a path. please keep me updated if there’s anything I can do to contribute! 🙂

  8. Posted October 22, 2008 at 10:41 am | Permalink | Reply

    I’m reading that book at the moment and it is very moving to get up DO over sitting an talking.

    Just last night my fiance was saying he was thinking of asking God to show him something to DO in this area, social justice, helping others, that sort of thing, and I directed him towards your post on the forum as inspiration of sorts

  9. Posted October 22, 2008 at 5:34 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Hey thanks for the review, i loved the book too! Its a hard read only because it makes you think there is so much i could change! We even got to meet Shane when he came to our church. Inspirational!

  10. Dawn
    Posted October 27, 2008 at 12:47 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Hey JJ,

    Great job!!! What you are doing inspired me and I plan on reading the book soon and also taking action.

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